Far-right nationalist march banned in Warsaw amid fears of violence

Warsaw’s mayor has banned a nationalist march planned for Sunday to mark the centenary of Polish independence, citing the risk of violence and expressions of hatred.

The march was being organised partly by far-right nationalist groups, one of which said it would defy the ban.

A rally is held annually in the capital on 11 November to commemorate the anniversary of Poland’s independence at the end of the first world war, but last year’s event was marked by confrontations with counter-protesters.
“Warsaw has already suffered enough due to aggressive nationalism,” the mayor, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, said. “Poland’s 100th anniversary of independence shouldn’t look like this, hence my decision to forbid it.”

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Some of the march’s organisers said they were planning on showing up regardless.

“We don’t understand the decision of Mayor Gronkiewicz-Waltz ... Even if the courts confirm her decision, we will still meet ... The march will take place,” said Tomasz Dorosz, the leader of Poland’s National Radical Camp, one of the groups involved in organising the march.

President Andrzej Duda had already decided to stay away from the event, which last year drew around 60,000 people, including representatives of far-right groups from across Poland and Europe.

Earlier this week Gronkiewicz-Waltz said she would consider banning the march “if there was any element of hatred”, according to local Polish broadcaster TVN24.

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